My son, Arran Brodick Barr, lost his life in 2006 as the result of an unprovoked and brutal assault. He was only 16 years of age. Arran's killer was given a six month suspended sentence, having been found guilty only of Assault Occasioning Bodily Harm.
In a coma initially, Arran's condition deteriorated rapidly, leaving him in a vegetative state until, eventually, his life support was disconnected. The WA justice system in my opinion, not only failed to provide justice, but failed to recognise the severity of Arran's injuries, and in effect deemed that his injuries were NOT grievous.
In Arran's case, the jury retired to consider their verdict based on the evidence that had been presented at trial, and unduly influenced by the presiding judge's closing summary and instructions, returned not guilty verdicts for manslaughter and grievous bodily harm. Those instructions heavily emphasised the jury's obligation in regards to the "Foreseeability" of the resultant damage to my son's health.
We, the undersigned, call on the Attorney General of Western Australia to review the laws by way of the following:
• That the definitions of Manslaughter and Grievous Bodily Harm as defined within the criminal code, be amended to include the words "whether foreseeable or not".
• A review of the Juvenile Justice System to ensure that juvenile offenders who commit an act of violence resulting in serious injury or death, and repeat offenders of violent crimes are dealt with within the ADULT system.
• A review of the Juvenile Justice System to ensure that thr identity of juvenile offenders who commit an act of violence resulting in serious injury or death, and the identity of repeat offenders of violent crimes are NOT suppressed.
• A review of the law to ensure that offenders convicted and sentenced for acts of violence are dealt with in a way that recognises the effects that their act of violence has had on the victim and the victim's family.
• A review of the law to ensure that the true extent of the victim's injuries are recognised and clearly defined and categorised by the appropriate professionals.
• A review of the law to ensure that the defence and prosecutors are BOTH obligated to provide to one another ALL evidence upon which they intend to present at trial.
• A review of the law that would permit the victim or the victim's family to be represented in court, by a lawyer or other designated representative, BOTH at trial AND sentencing.
The Improve Our Justice System petition to The Attorney General of Western Australia was written by Simon John Alexander Barr and is in the category Law Reform at GoPetition.